In a new op-ed, lawyer and columnist Wendy Kaminer argues that “vigilante feminism” after the Weinstein scandal undermines due process.
“How do we balance the mandate to ‘believe the women’ with fairness for the men accused?” she wrote in a piece for the Boston Globe. “We can’t. Categorically believing accusers turns a mere accusation of wrongdoing into proof that it occurred. Women who cheer this virtually irrebuttable presumption of guilt, considering due process for alleged harassers a component of rape culture, are cheering a thoughtless, treacherous form of vigilante feminism.”
Over 50 women say movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sexual harassed them, or worse. Kaminer names NBC contributor Mark Halperin, and The New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier as powerful men facing other harassment allegations in the wake of all this. She doesn’t defend any of these men, but argued that people are all too willing to believe or exaggerate harassment or assault allegations.
As an example, Kaminer points at the story from Heather Linda. The actress said that President George H.W. Bush, who is 93, grabbed her butt.
“Belatedly complaining about the fleeting touch and unwelcome joke of a sick old man in a wheelchair, I see her looking smaller than he does,” Kaminer wrote. She also argued that the harassment allegation against NESN March James was overblown. He sent rude texts to a woman who refused to date him, but nothing he did constituted harassment, Kaminer said.
The author, who said she suffered from workplace harassment too, argued that women should differentiate between harassment hurting their careers, and “inevitable inapproprpriate discourtesies of human interactions. People have a right to be rude.”
[Screengrab via CNN]